Press Release | 16 November 2020
During the Nov. 15 episode of the Department of Health’s Survivors Speak Series, Rosalie Ambat, 45, and a member of Tagaytay’s Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) recounted her experience in overcoming COVID-19. She explained how contact tracing is critical in crushing clustering of cases in the community and also shared their team’s best practices.
Tracing Ambat’s contacts days prior to testing positive was done efficiently, thanks to their local government unit’s (LGU) standard operating procedure (SOP) of requiring a diary for all members of the community who constantly go out to attend to essential purposes such as buying groceries or working in a job. This diary contains all the places an individual has been to along with the different people he has interacted with.
Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, Director IV of the DOH’s Health Promotion Bureau, said that contact tracing methods like the one mentioned above, although done manually, is an integral part of the nation’s overall data management system. The health official also added that every touchpoint in gathering data relevant to COVID-19 is significant in helping the DOH and other government agencies in making informed decisions.
“Katuwang po ito ng ating data management initiatives upang manatiling evidence-based ang aksyon at decisions na ginagawa ng iba’t ibang government agencies lalo na sa pag-manage ng iba’t ibang komunidad ngayong panahon ng pandemya.”
Furthermore, Dr. Ho also emphasized in the virtual presser that data management is critical in the country’s implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law (UHC) which says that medical services should be made accessible and affordable to all Filipinos.
Dr. Ho said, “Para maisakatuparan ang UHC sa bansa, mahalagang napapalakas natin ang ating mga health information systems. Mahalaga ito para sa mabisa at mapagkakatiwalaang paghahatid ng mga health services sa bawat Pilipino.”
On top of an efficient contact tracing method, Ambat deemed that acting fast is also critical in mitigating the spread of the virus. She believes that isolating right away even before testing positive is what helped protect her family from getting infected.
The moment she experienced symptoms that are characteristic of COVID-19, namely an itchy throat that urged coughing, she took it upon herself to self-isolate immediately. “Hindi na po ako kampante para sa pamilya ko, nagkakaroon na nga po ako ng sintomas,” she recounted.
Upon losing her sense of smell that same day, she sought assistance from the city health office who immediately advised her to get her belongings ready as she will be taken to a temporary treatment and monitoring facility even before the conducting of a swab test.
The release of her results happened within a day which unfortunately confirmed that she was positive for COVID-19 infection. Despite the positive result, Ambat recalled a feeling of relief when she learned that none among the members of her household as well as her close contacts contracted COVID-19.
To date, Ambat is fully recovered from COVID-19. With renewed energy and motivation, the barangay health worker is back to serving in the local community by assisting persons under monitoring (PUMs) with their needs while in quarantine.